fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "ALEX THOMPSON" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 23:38:53 +0100
Subject: OUR REF:22/3/10
OFFICE OF THE MINISTER FOR FINANCE
AND FINANCIAL MATTERS.
RE: PAYMENT NOTIFICATION / FINAL ORDER.
This is to draw your attention of your contract payment is still lying in the
contract payment suspense bank account with the Federal Government of Nigerian
and authorized has been passed to effect payment on her behalf, the only problem now is that
we dictated a lot of irregularities involvements attached to your payment file.
(1) Did you at any time delegate anybody not even from your family to claim
your fund on your behalf?
(2) Were you involved in a motor accident?
(3) Are you aware or related to one Mr. Thomas Mick from your country?
Please reconfirm and answer the above questions. An individual Mr. Thomas Mick
came to our foreign contract payment department and submitted an application that you have
authorized your contract payment of US$32.5M to be paid into a bank account with the Union Bank of
Switzerland (UBS). Account number UBS-A943BDG99. With the report that you are now paralyzed as a
result of the ghastly motor accident you had last month.
We have instructed Mr. Thomas Mick to forward your signed authorization
letter/power of attorney authorizing him to endorse your CONTRACT IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT RELEASE
ORDER for onward transfer of your contract payment.
The delay in the transferring the contract payment is due to the requested for a
power of attorney authorizing him to pursue this payment on your behalf. He asked for a week so as
to submit the documents, but up till now we have not received any of the documents from any
of you. Why?
Please forward us the power of attorney by a return fax or by E-mail
authorizing us to effect payment into the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) nominated Bank
account on your behalf without delay.
Thanks for your co-operation
Secretary to the Minister of Finance